CBS Goes Under The Dome

Deadline reports that CBS will go Under The Dome next Summer:
13-episode straight-to-series order to Steven Spielberg and Stephen King‘s Under The Dome, a drama based on King’s bestselling 2009 novel, which will be produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Television. 
13 episodes certainly gives the series some room to breath!  That's good, since the book is full of complex  characters and a twisting plot.

Let's see. . . 13 episodes. . . Stephen ing. . . Stephen Spielberg .  . . what's not  to be excited about?!

There is a lot of cool information about how the deal went down at

Drawing Of The Three Journal #3: The Shining

In Wizard and Glass, Stephen King makes some pretty clear connections to his other  works.  It becomes crystal clear that the Dark Tower is a door that opens directly into King's other books.  But direct references to Stephen King and his work began to appear in other places much earlier in the series.

Twice Eddie Dan makes mention of The Shining.  These are cultural references.  Interestingly, both times he is referencing the Kubrick film.  Here are two quotes about The Shining from The Drawing Of The Three:

1. While looking through the doorway into Oedtta's world:

Now the view through the doorway made one of those turns the gunslinger found so dizzying— but Eddie found this same abrupt swoop oddly comforting. Roland had never seen a movie. Eddie had seen thousands, and what he was looking at was like one of those moving point-of-view shots they did in ones like Halloween and The Shining. He even knew what they called the gadget they did it with. Steadicam. That was it.  (P.198)
2. Again, looking through Odetta's eyes:
He was staring into the doorway, hypnotized, as an aisle of Macy’s rushed forward— he was reminded again of The Shining, where you saw what the little boy was seeing as he rode his trike through the hallways of that haunted hotel. He remembered the little boy had seen this creepy pair of dead twins in one of those hallways. (P.223)
Someone has pointed out that Room 217 can equal 19 (2 + 17).  Deep.  And -- "Another instance of 19 occurs during the climax of the novel, when Jack is attempting to kill his wife, and the book mentions that there are 19 stairs from the lobby to the first floor of the hotel."  

Broadwayworld: Interview With Misery's William Goldman and Will Frears

I enjoyed the's interview with Misery screenwriter William Goldman and director Will Frears. Goldman was responsible for both the film adaptation and stage version of King's outstanding novel.

The play is currently onstage at Bucks County Playhouse for a special limited engagement November 24 through December 8.

A couple of highlights from the extensive interview:

PC: Bill, you originally read through the novel a few times with three different highliters in order to craft your original screenplay for the film, correct? 
WG: Yes, that’s true. You know, for me, because King is so popular and because of the material he tends to write about, I think people really don’t realize what a brilliant writer he is.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
PC: Have you gone back to the original novel at all in this adaptation process of bringing MISERY to the stage? 
WG: Not that much. When I first was working on the play I’m sure that I looked at the novel a couple times, but not much since then. It was just… I don’t know; for me, I still remembered the movie and I always remember Kathy Bates and Jimmy Caan and all of it.
PC: That’s what you remember when you remember MISERY. 
WG: The movie is what I always go back to - yeah.
Goldman also reveals that the screenplay was written specififcally for Kathy Bates.

The full interview is at

Carrie keeps getting creepier

Check out this new image from the upcoming CARRIE movie:

Samuel Zimmerman offers some insightful commentary at

Zimmerman notes, "We're learning what to expect from CARRIE via viral trinkets. The latest? A psychological examination of Carrie's mother, Margaret White. Hint: She's out there."

However, the facebook post said, "Another piece of the puzzle. This sheds a bit more light on who Margaret White was..."  -- WAS --

Check out the Carrie facebook page at

WZON Christmas Music

Is talk radio in trouble?  I dunno.  I don't listen to any of it! Might be why I'm still able to smile.  Maybe.  One of King's stations is switching for the Christmas season from progressive (liberal) talk radio to Christmas music and the promise of a "BIG surprise" after Christmas.

What's the big surprise?

This is from

Stephen King-Owned WZLO and WZON, Bangor Progressive Talk Simulcast Splits. “The Pulse” website states the stations have split their simulcast of progressive talk and are featuring Christmas music on the FM signal with a “BIG surprise” the station will reveal after Christmas. The stations have been a simulcast for the past 2 ½ years – first as a sports talk station, then as the progressive talk outlet. The FM side had been playing a triple A format prior to the simulcast. WZON at 620 AM continues to air a progressive talk format featuring a local morning show with Don Cookson, WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Cox Media’s Clark Howard and Leslie Marshall.

The Drawing Of The Three Journal #2: Doors and Cards

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I’ve been reading the second Dark Tower bok, The Drawing Of The Three.  This is great stuff!

As one person posted at,

"...There's going to be shooting.""There is?""Yes." The gunslinger looked serenely at Eddie. "Quite a lot of it, I think."
. . . And so begins the coolest, most intense gun fight I've ever read.

The second book is much easier to read.  The tone is more of what we expect of King – chatty, conversational and intensely character driven.  The first novel was surreal.  Also, this novel has a lot of “hooks” that keep the reader engaged.  King might be world building, but it is easier going in this novel..

In the first novel, it was me going “huh?”  I had no context or history with Roland’s world to help make things make sense.  What’s a “Ka”?  But in Drawing it is Roland who is in our world.  I know what a Big Mac is.  And, to make things even better, Eddie is often confused by Roland’s terms and is right there to ask him.  In fact, Eddie flat out tells Roland that he does not know what a “ka” is, except that kaka is something babies do in their diapers. Turns out, Roland explains, that Ka is destiny.  Or, a form of mid-world predestination.  So the reader is introduced to themes from Roland’s world without the total immersion required in The Gunslinger.

The Dark Tower itself moves closer to center stage in this book. Roland invites Eddie on his quest.  Of course, Eddie doesn’t really have a choice, but it was at least nice of Roland to invite. Eddie calls Roland a “tower Junkie.”  That’s great!

1. Doors: Roland encounters doors on a beach.  An earlier discussion about where the doors come from and what they symbolize lead to the general conclusion that fantasy doesn’t require a lot of answers.   Further, many of you insisted that symbolism doesn’t have to originate with the author.

Doors have a lot of Biblical symbolism – used much the same way they are used in The Drawing of the Three.

  • Movement between realms.  In Revelation, John sees an open doors.  Stepping through the door ushers him into another world – the heavenly realm. (Revelation 4:1)  
  • Spiritual receptivity.  Jesus most often used the symbol of a door to represent spiritual openness or closed heartedness toward the Gospel.  (Matthew 7:7-8 , Revelation 3:20) 
  • Opportunity.  Jesus also used the symbol of a door as one of opportunity (Revelation 3:8) Paul used this same analogy.  (1 Cor. 16:9 , 2 Cor. 2:12, Col. 4:3)

Doors in The Drawing of the Three move the characters between worlds or realms.  Roland enters our world through the open doors. . . but there is a catch!  Roland enters our world through the body of another.  It’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers here!  Or, Richard Laymon’s “Body Rides.”

I found this article interesting on the symbolism of doors and windows in modern literature HERE.

By the way, there are more than just doors on a beach in this novel.  There are a lot of locked doors.  The door on the airplane.  The bathroom door at Balazar’s.

Throughout this novel both Eddie and Roland are sizing one another up.  Roland sees potential in Eddie if he can break free of his prison (drugs).  Interesting, since King when he wrote this was a prisoner to many substances. In fact, King displays more than a working knowledge of drugs and guns!

Back to doors.  Doors lead to “opportunity.”  For Eddie, Roland’s world is a way out of his prison.  The prison door is open for him to walk away – but it does not open on his world.  In order for him to be free, he must shut the door on his own world.  King was in much the same situation.  He would have to stop relying on things to keep him going.  What was his “door”?  His Roland was his wife – she drew the line and demanded change.  His door out was writing.

King narrates, “needed a fix.  More: He served a fix.”  This is exactly how a junkie thinks!  He needs, he deserves – thus anyone who denies him what he needs and deserves is the enemy, not the help.

King shares in On Writing that a lie artist tell themselves is that their art is better because of whatever substance abuse they are beholden to.  King reveals that this is a lie he told himself.  However, he also acknowledges that it is indeed a lie.  In order to escape out of a world of drugs,  he would have to walk away from the lie and into his craft with a sober mind.

photo credit:

2. Cards play an important role in this novel.
In the first book, the Gunslingers fortune was told with three cards.  Those cards now play out throughout The Drawing Of The Three.  Also, Balazar loves to play with cards, building complex houses and buildings out of the cards.  I love it when the gun battle begins and the cards go flying!  As Balazar’s cards fall down, so will his destiny.

King uses a midpoint devise with the cards titled “Shuffle.”  This describes Eddie’s nursing the Gunslinger and their conversations.  However, as the cards shuffle, time is lost.  The reader is left with a sense of disorientation.  How much time passes is not clear.  King uses this to move easily from one scene to the next without being required to fill us in on how they moved from point to point.  The narration takes an overview method that I actually like quite a bit.  King usually moves a story carefully – building scene by scene like a television show.  Sometimes it’s nice when he just fast forwards to the important parts.  That’s what he does in the “shuffle” sections.

MISERY returns to stage

The stage production of Misery opened today.  Broadwayworld posted:
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Castle Rock Entertainment and Playhouse Productions announced today that they will present the world premiere of MISERY at Bucks County Playhouse (70 South Main Street, New Hope PA) this fall. Written by two-time Academy Award-winner William Goldman (who wrote the screenplay for Misery as well as The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), based on the acclaimed novel by Stephen King and directed by Will Frears (Coach, Year Zero), MISERY will play a limited developmental engagement of 11 performances only, November 24th through December 8th.
More HERE.

King To Speak At University Of Massachusetts

Tenley Woodman at reports that Stephen King discuss his work on December 7 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Tsongas Center. Author and UMass Lowell professor Andre Dubus III (“House of Sand and Fog”) will moderate the event.  This is the first of the school’s Chancellor’s Speaker Series.

King will hold a "special  master class" for UMass Lowell creative writing majors as part of his visit to the university.

On his website, King said, "Writing requires not just a creative mind and some good ideas, but also dedication to the craft. I look forward to sharing my experiences as a writer and the lessons I have learned with UMass Lowell students and the public."

King's website announced that the King's (Stephen and Tabitha) will endow a new scholarship fund in their names. King will donate his fee from the UMass Lowell appearance and at least $5 from every ticket sold for the Dec. 7 event will go to this scholarship fund.

The Boston Herald article also notes that General admission tickets are sold out, but sponsorship tickets, starting at $1,000 for two premium seats and a preshow reception with Stephen King, are available. More information HERE

King's own website actually has the most information,

Smythe: Rereading The RUNNING MAN

James Smythe at The Guardian has posted the latest leg of his journey through the Stephen King universe -- The  Running Man.  A highly reflective piece, Smythe found a deeper appreciation for this novel as he reread it.  Like most everyone on planet earth, he was not moved by the film adaptation.  "It's awful!" Smythe laments.

Smythe writes,
This time, I read the book and much preferred it. Maybe I'm more attuned to the sadness now; maybe I'm better with the weaker Ben Richards, the desperation that makes him enter the competition. It's decently written: not King's best, but not his worst. The structure is interesting too, echoing his other dystopian game show novel of the period, The Long Walk. Where that novel counted down the boys left alive as part of the text, here the short chapters are on constant countdown, starting at 101. You know when the book is going to end: the timer tells you. It's a pacey device, and one that serves the game-show content of the novel, and this is a good book; mid-tier King.
read the full article at /

Dreamcatcher Script Writer Headed For Star Wars

Lawrence Kasdan has been brought on board to write an installment of the upcoming Star Wars trilogy. notes,
"Kasdan is a Lucasfilm and Star Wars veteran having co-wrote 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and the 1983 movie Return of the Jedi. He recently co-wrote the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, considered the finest movie from Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones movies. However, his latest feature film writing credit is the poorly received Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher, starring Morgan Freeman." 
Mark Maurer at offers, "Lawrence Kasdan was trusted with co-writing two "Star Wars" sequels in the 1980s — why not do it again?"

I have no concerns -- just don't pull a Dreamcatcher on us!  I liked that novel.  The movie. . .

Bangor Broadcasters Quit On Air

In an article titled, "Take this job and shove it: Fed-up Bangor TV anchors quit on air", Bangor Daily News writes: "Michaels and Consiglio, who have a combined 12½ years’ service at WVII (Channel 7) and sister station WFVX (Channel 22), shocked staff members and viewers with their joint resignations Tuesday evening. . . Neither reporter had told anyone of their decisions before Tuesday’s newscast."

The reason for their leaving?  Michaels said it was because they were  forced by upper management to do stories that were bias.  (They did not indicate which way they felt the bias was leaning).

check it out: Carrie Website

carrie movie website

I am pretty excited about the new Carrie movie. So what's new with Carrie? The emphasis all along has been that it would be based more on the book than previous adaptations. As if to press that point, the website is not offering download's of the first chapter for free!

The Stand: An American Lord Of The Rings!

I enjoyed the GQ article about Ben Affleck's work as a director. One project Affleck is currently considering is The Stand.  

Affleck is also working on an adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, struggling to condense its epic nature into a manageable form. "Right now we're having a very hard time," he says. "But I like the idea—it's like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it's about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?"
I like it that he sees the potential of an American Lord Of The Rings.  I think that is very much what King was aiming at as well.  Breaking it into 3 clean segments would be difficult.  Movies are like mini-series that can build  night after night.  Each movie needs a clean beginning and ending.  The Stand is deeply interwoven and would be difficult to take apart.

The idea of big screen treatment is great! Maybe that Lincoln tunnel scene could be. . . scary this time!  And maybe Franny could be portrayed by someone else.  Maybe. . .

Huge Carrie Poster

Here is the poster for Carrie that was at the theater when we went to see Lincoln.  The poster is massive.  It takes the entire wall!  (An entire wall of a theater lobby.)

@Regal Cinema 16, Rancho Mirage, CA


I went to see LINCOLN with my wife and our older two daughters this weekend.  WOW!  Absolutely incredible.  I was blown away.  The movie is base in part on Team Of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  She is a marvelous historian and writer.   Of course, Stephen King met with Goodwin when he was working on 11.22.63.  He did a lot of “what iffing” with her, discussing what would happen if Kennedy had lived.

The Lincoln movie focuses on the efforts to pass the thirteenth amendment through the House – about three months of time elapses in the movie.  Of course, Team of Rivals has a much larger scope, looking more microscopically at Lincoln’s cabinet.

There was nothing I didn’t like about this film!  There were several times I found myself wondering if that is exactly how various scenes went down; how much artistic license was being taken.

The film is carried by Daniel Day Lewis, who brings Lincoln to life!  This is no wooden performance.  My complaint about Lincoln movies has always been the same as Jesus films!  That is, they always show the main character as kind of aloof.  (Think Disneyland’s “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln” – cool, but a little wooden.)  Bruce Marchiano brilliantly portrayed Christ in the Visual Bible’s Matthew.  Here, Lincoln is a living being right before our eyes.  He is funny, strong, a man of conviction and able to hold his own with his wife.

Lincoln is portrayed as a man who is able to choose his battles.  He lets Mary Lincoln (Sally Field) get her way . . . most of the time.  When pressed by his son Robert, to allow him to join the Union cause, Lincoln struggles – torn between Robert’s desire and Mary’s demand that her son be spared.  The family had already had too much loss to endure a son giving his life on the battlefield.

Unlike many Lincoln movies, the scope of this movie is big.  What I mean is that often these movies focus only on Lincoln the man – avoiding the battlefield or big speeches because they would require massive budget.  How do you create a crowd of thousands gathered at the capitol building in the 1860's?  Well, when you have Mr. Spielberg then those special effects are possible.

I was deeply moved by this.  There was nothing I had to give the movie a pass on (acting, special effects, history), so I felt free to let the movie carry me.  I takes a few moments when the film starts.  The viewer is a bit nervous when Day Lewis first appears on screen.  Can I trust you to be Lincoln to me?  Quickly, the answer is: YES!  This is Lincoln!

Many familiar scenes are present, lived out much the way I imagined them.  Lee’s surrender to Grant. . . the Second inauguration speech. . . Civil War battles. . . and more.  Everyone felt right.  I don’t know how to explain that – but they didn’t feel like 21st century actors pretending to be 19th century men.  When General Grant was on screen, it seemed like it was really him.

Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens is portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones.  Stevens is a sympathetic character in the movie, pushing with all his might to free the slaves.  Radical Republicans would later push, after the Civil War, to grant blacks full civil rights.  However, without Lincoln, the master politician there to help two sides move forward, the nation became embroiled in a terrible period of Reconstruction. Mr. Steven’s would lead the charge to impeach President Andrew Johnson, who did not posses Lincoln’s ability to shepherd strong willed people.  Lincoln had the ability the show mercy to the defeated south.  Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson did not have the same credibility or leadership Lincoln had displayed.  (Credibility, because only Lincoln could really demand the South be allowed back into the Union with “Malice toward none.”)

Put LINCOLN up there with the kind of movie that comes around rarely.  Strange to me to see lines waiting to see the latest installment of Twilight while Lincoln is showing.  (It was a packed house for Lincoln, too.)  But really. . . Twilight over Lincoln?  Speaking of Twilight, I did see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter a few weeks ago.  Sigh.

Check out Lincoln while it’s in theaters.  Take your kids.  This is something American’s should see at this point in our history.  This film reminds us of who we are and whose we are.

Is Naughty Bear Really CARRIE ?

A few months ago my insane little sister -- Miss Conservative -- introduced me to a an absolutely crazy (and very bad) game called, "Naughty Bear."  It's like GTA with bears. . . or something like that.   "It's not that bad," she said, "it's just Teddy bears."

Truth be told, the game is hilarious.  I couldn't stop laughing.

And, since I am reading The Drawing of the Three, I found myself thinking: Eddie Dean would like this game.

Naughty bear is an angry little bear because he is rejected by the other smurfs --I mean bears.  Naughty bear shows up at  the party and things get messy.  The player (Naughty Bear) gets right down to business, chopping up his fellow bears -- stabbing -- axing -- burning -- and so on.  It's really crazy.

After leaving my sisters house, I promptly forgot about the game.  Until I read Eric Thornton's review at  Thornton makes a connection to Carrie that I think is quite insightful.  Could that be why the game is so much fun?  Because we identify with that little bear the same way we identify with Carrie White?

Thornton writes:
Naughty Bear follows the anthropomorphic escapades of an isolated teddy bear whose behavior isn’t so much naughty as viciously homicidal, albeit in a quasi-understandable, Stephen King’s Carrie kind of way that appeals to the pariah in all of us, or at least it would, had the game been competently designed.

Yeah, Thornton isn't thrilled with the game.  Nor was I deeply  hooked. Come on, it's not like this  is Civ.V !  But it was strangely fun, in a Carrie White sort of way.  Makes we wonder if there will be a Carrie video game. I would probably hate it.

So,  what Stephen King books would make good  video games?

  • Strategy: A Civ version of The Stand would rock! 
  • Action: The Runningman would make a fun set up for a game.  Obviously, your goal  should not be to fly a plane into  a building. . .
  • Fantasy: The Eyes of the Dragon.  King created an entire world it would be fun to roam.
  • Horror: Cell.  You know killing zombies is fun. 
Discordia looks like a lot of fun -- a Dark Tower game. I haven't had time to invest in it.

Mangler's Inspiration -- MANGLED

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A once busy laundromat in Bangor was demolished today -- it has been closed since 2000.  According to WABI TV 5 it is the same laundry Stephen King once worked at.  (

Stephen King website charnelhouse notes,
the New Franklin Laundry (where King worked for some time, giving him the inspiration for “The Mangler” and providing a backdrop for the novels Carrie and Roadwork.) 

When asked what the worst job he ever had  was, King told Suspense Magazine,
When I washed industrial laundry for New Franklin Laundry in Bangor, twice a week (in summer) we used to get the table linen from Testa's of Bar Harbor. Testa's is a famous seafood restaurant, where the elite meet. But the elite never saw those napkins and tablecloths after a hot summer day in the back of a laundry pick-up truck. They stank, which was bad, and they were squirming with maggots. But I washed em, and. . . they came out clean.

Stephen J. Spignesi writes that King's experience working at the New Franklin Laundry inspired and informed The Mangler.  Spingnesi quotes King, "The first thing I am is a husband; the second thing I am is a father, the third thing that I am is, I'm a man of my place and time and my community.  And I have to be all those  things first because if I want to write, everything trickles down."  Spingnesi then notes, "The Mangler is stark evidnce of this: Everything trickles down." (The Essential Stephen King, p.261)

In an interview with Ben Rawortit (quoted  in Essential Stephen King), King discussed working at the laundry.  When Rawortit asked if that was "weird", King said, "THere was a guy who worked there who fell into the pressing machine, or 'mangler,' as you call it.  He was over the machine dusting off the beams when  he just lost his balance and fell."  Rawortit asked if the machine ate his hands.  "Yeah, it swallowed his arms.  So he had two hooks where his hands used to be."

I have not read The Mangler!  I don't know how this escaped me.  I will correct this quickly.

Conway: Review of the Gunslinger

This is from Joe Conway, who is reviewing the Stephen King books in order.  He's just posted his review of The Gunslinger and graciously allowed me to repost it  here.

Check out his blog at

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

Stephen King started writing this novel in 1970 on a ream of bright green paper that he found at the library. The five stories that constitute the novel were originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction:

  • "The Gunslinger" (October 1978)
  • "The Way Station" (April 1980)
  • "The Oracle and the Mountains" (February 1981)
  • "The Slow Mutants" (July 1981)
  • "The Gunslinger and the Dark Man" (November 1981)

It took King twelve and a half years to finish the novel. The finished product was first published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. as a limited edition in 1982. In 1988, Plume released it in trade paperback form. In 2003 the novel was reissued in a revised and expanded version with modified language and added and changed scenes intended to resolve inconsistencies with the later books in the series. More on this version later.

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. So begins Book I of Stephen King’s iconic fantasy series, The Dark Tower. Part sci-fi novel, part futuristic dystopia, part spaghetti Western, and part high fantasy vision, The Gunslinger tells the story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, who is tracking an enigmatic magician known only as the man in black. Following his quarry across the demon-infested Mohaine Desert, Roland confronts a mad preacher woman and her murderous flock, holds palaver with a speaking demon, and finally befriends a young boy from our world named Jake Chambers. Jake joins Roland on his quest, but while Roland travels with his young companion Jake, the man in black travels with Roland’s soul in his pocket.

Personal Thoughts
Ahh… The Dark Tower… This is the first leg of King’s magnum opus. Some people don’t like this book and they say it is tough to get through. I like it. The writing in this version is good; it is very poetic, which I like. By the time this was published, I don’t know how much of The Drawing of the Three was written, but I get the sense that King knew at least a little bit of what was going to happen. Also I think The Man in Black gives an awesome description of The Dark Tower in the last chapter and sadly it is never really told like that again in the series. This is a good book, but it is rare; the expanded version is the one in print now. I can’t compare them yet, but I get the feeling that I think the expanded will be a bit contrived, like The Wind Through The Keyhole, but much more on that later.

The Audiobook
This audiobook is read by Frank Muller, widely considered to be the best narrator of audiobooks, and rightly so. Are there narrators that match him? Yes, Roy Dotrice, John Lee, George Guidall, and others, but he is definitely one of the best who ever lived. He has narrated a number of King audiobooks, starting with Different Seasons. I don’t know when this book was recorded because The Gunslinger was published before Different Seasons. This was ripped from tape, so it is old, but it is great quality. Any Frank Muller recording is great quality, regardless of the quality of the recording because they are usually the best. This is the case with The Mist, which is terrible quality, but the extremely rare Frank Muller recording, which I have, is the best quality available. I did not like Muller’s reading of All The Pretty Horses by Cormmac McCarthy; I thought he took it too slow, but when I review Different Seasons next, I’ll talk about the difference in some Muller recordings. This is a great audiobook, which is now unavailable. 

WEEDS to appear in Shivers 7

Sivers 6 gave us the Stephen King story The Crate.  Now Shivers 7 is bringing back the King short story Weeds.

Cemetery Dance writes, 
Weeds” by Stephen King was originally published in Cavalier magazine in May 1976 and in Nugget magazine in April 1979, but has not been reprinted since, although it was adapted as “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” for Creepshow in 1982. 
“The Departed” by Clive Barker was originally published as “Hermione and the Moon” in The New York Times on October 30, 1992.
So this is the second of the Creepshow stories to be reprinted in the Shivers collection.

The hardcover is $40.   Check it out at

Digging Deeper Into "Unearthed & Untold"

I like the new facebook page for the upcoming Pet Sematary documentary, "Unearthed & Untold." The page says they are aiming for completion sometime in 2013. (The facbook page is HERE)

Scars Magazine described the documentary, "Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary, is a meticulous lovesong not just to the movie, but to the filmmaking process."

I like this exchange from the interview:
Are there any questions you’ve always wondered about, as fans, that making this documentary has revealed for you? 
JUSTIN WHITE: One of the first things that was answered for me was a question I didn’t even really know I had. When we first visited the Creed house, one of the things we did was follow the land where the path into the woods was, and thought there might have been a slight chance that we stumbled upon the area that was used for the Pet Sematary. It was quickly realized that the actual shooting location was not on or anywhere near the property. That was one of the first of many surprising revelations that working on this documentary has presented us.

Gage in "Pet Sematary"

JOHN CAMPOPIANO: In terms of general curiosities, I’ve always been eager to know where the locations from the film are. Horror fans have a lot of things in common, one of them being a genuine fascination with filming locations and seeing what places look like today. (Have they changed? Do they look the same?) For years, devoted fans have flocked to the Exorcist steps in Georgetown, the JAWS bridge on Martha’s Vineyard, the Amityville Horror house in Amityville, NY, the iconic sidewalks from Halloween in southern California, and so on. That red and yellow “Creed” house is among those locations that fans want to see and visit. Over the last two years we’ve gone above and beyond to find as many of the filming locations in Maine as we can. While there will always be a stone left unturned, we’re confident that, for the first time, fans of Pet Sematary will see more of the original locations than they ever dreamed they would. After all, our primary objective with this documentary is to provide an all-encompassing look at the film – the filming locations being a major part of the journey. 
In terms of specific questions that I, as a fan, always wanted to know, I had always been interested in learning about how the filmmakers accomplished the two different shots showing Gage getting killed in the road. (A morbid curiosity, no?) The answers and stories associated with this question have been revealed in the documentary and will undoubtedly peak the interest of anyone who appreciates the film.

The full interview is great, check  it out

Ebay: Maximum Overdrive Sweatshirt

Don't ya love ebay?  You find stuff  you need that you didn't even know existed!

Rare Promotional Tie-In Sweatshirt of STEPHEN KING'S movie MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE - promo/tie-in sweatshirt from VHS release. Red with logo and artwork on front and says “Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive” and “KLV-TV Karl-Lorimar Video” on the front and “Starring Emilio Estevez and Music by AC / DC” on the sleeve. (check it out on ebay)

LINK: Alan Wake Review

Mark LoProto has an insightful review of the video game Alan Wake. LoProto gives the game high marks for  story telling, but levels concerns about depth.  For instance, he notes that combat is overly simplified, as is travel.  Still, “Alan Wake may not be the perfect game, but there is plenty working in its favor."

What Alan Wake does well is tell a story.  LoProto writes: 
It’s easy to equate most bits of horror as a throwback to early Stephen King, but the story woven within this tale of darkness truly is reminiscent of classic psychological horror. Following Wake on his journey to uncover the truth behind Caldron Lake, his missing wife, and the Dark Presence rings true of classic novelized horror. Throughout, “Alan Wake” feels less like a video game and more like an interactive Lovecraftian novel as the writer’s mind is bent and twisted to a point where most people would be unable to return from.
The full review is HERE.

Have you played Alan Wake?  Tell  me what you think.

Liljas Library: A New Dark Tower Companion On The Way

EXCITING NEWS!  This is from my favorite Stephen King website, Lilja's Library -- which is always fantastic!

The Dark Tower Companion announced

Bev Vincent has announced his new book: The Dark Tower Companion. Here is what he writes:
I’ve been a little coy about what I’m working on, but it’s time to announce my third book. The Dark Tower Companion will be published by New American Library (Penguin) in April. This massive companion is 50% longer than The Road to the Dark Tower. It covers not only the eight books of King’s series, but also the Marvel graphic novel adaptations. I interviewed King for the book, along with Robin Furth, Richard Isanove (colorist), Peter David (script), Jae Lee (artist) and most of the subsequent artists. 
I also, much to my great delight, got to talk with Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman about how they plan to adapt the series. Click on the image to see a full-sized version of the great cover by Spanish artist Nekro.
Read more here.

Haven's back

The Hollywood Reporter has news. . . Haven  has been renewed for a fourth season.

Etan Vlessing writes,
Haven has averaged 2.4 million total viewers and among adults 18-49, attracted 942,000. The current third season has also seen the drama's best adults 25-54 average, with 1.2 million.
"We couldn’t be happier to see the story of Audrey Parker and the creepy, quirky town of Haven continue next year. Season three has hit a creative and critical high and we’re very excited to see where the talented production team takes our colorful cast of characters led by the perfect trifecta of Emily Rose, Eric Balfour and Lucas Bryant in season four," said Stern in a statement.
Quick question. . . who's watching and who's dropped out ?

What Authors Would You Invite To Dinner?

I liked Karen Tae's article, "Which authors would you invite to dinner?" (HERE)

Tae makes the interesting observational that people can be disappointed when they meet the author of their favorite book -- because the author is not the same person who wrote the book; that person has moved one!
Books are like time capsules of a certain stage of a writer's thought process, creative energy and emotional space. Generally, once the story has been told, the author goes on to the next project and by the time the long, painful process of publishing has been endured and the reader gets their hot little hands on a copy, it will have been years since the completion of those early drafts. People can change a lot within the space of months, let alone over two or three or four years.
I never thought about that, but it's certainly true!  King does pretty good reflecting on the person he was when he wrote various books.  Robert Mccammon got frustrated with people only wanting to discuss Swan Song, and at least for a while refused to talk about the novel!  Imagine that -- you could sit in a library and talk with friends or reading groups about the book, but the author did not want to discuss it. It seems King has always been quite willing to talk about his work.

So who would you invite to dinner?  On Tae's list is Stephen King, with a strange notation about Tabitha that I don't quite understand.  (Wouldn't she also count as an author?)  About King, Tae writes:
Who wouldn't want to have Stephen and Tabitha King over for dinner?! He could regale me with horror stories while I drain the spaghetti and stir the sauce. Tabitha would naturally be in charge of dessert. And I could discuss post-apocalyptic fiction with King and when exactly he thinks they might turn the Dark Tower series into movies.
Why is Tabitha "naturally in charge of dessert"?  Is that a reference to a book or an inside joke?  I don't get it.  Ben Stein voice. . . anyone, anyone, anyone. . .

Thinking of dinner with a writer, I ate dinner one night with my wife and her family at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  My wife excitedly told everyone not to bother with spaghetti sauce, but to instead get the mizithira cheese because the menu said Homer lived on it when he wrote the Odyssey.  We followed this direction, and all wished we had some sauce.

1. Stephen King
2. Charles Dickens
3. Arthur Conan Doyle
4. Ray Bradbury
5. Ken Follett
And to each  meal, I would invite Ed Wood to be my sidekick to keep the conversation flowing.  (Or Woody Allen) 

1. Rick Warren (Pirpose Driven Life)
2. Gary Thomas (Sacred marriage)
3. Aaron Eby (Boundary Stones)
4. Errol Morris (A Wilderness Of Error)
5. Carl Sandburg (Lincoln series)


SK Fans Can Tour Bangor With iPhone App

You can now tour the local Bangor landmarks that appear throughout the Stephen King canon thanks to the Bangor Haunted: Stephen King’s Derry app, available for iPhone and Android.

Bangor Daily News explains,
"The app was designed and launched by Brett Hiatt, a writer and developer from Melbourne, Australia and a self-described “huge fan.” He visited Maine, and Bangor, two years ago, and was inspired to develop the app after trying to find King sites in town on his own, and not having much success."  (
The article also notes, "The app, available for $1.99, offers up several views of town, from a Google map with all the locations plotted out, to an alphabetical list, with pictures and information. It’s customizable, so you can plan out your own King tour of Bangor, and in addition to just Derry, there’s lots more locations listed throughout the state, including a number in the Portland area."

If given the choice, I would rather go on Stu Tinker's tour than mess with the app.  But then, my cellphone might look like this. . .

The article also reports that the developers are hard at work on a Twilight app.  I just can't wait.

Who's Your Favorite Reader?

Got a favorite narrator? . . .
  • Kathy Bates
  • Lindsay Crouse
  • Jeffrey DeMunn
  • Raul Esparza 
  • Grover Gardner
  • George Guidall
  • Jessica Hecht
  • Kirby Heyborne
  • Stephen King
  • Stephen Lang
  • Joe Mantegna
  • Frank Muller
  • Bronson Pinchot
  • Campbell Scott
  • Joe Slattery
  • Sissy Spacek
  • Frances Sternahagen
  • G. Valmont Thomas
  • Eli Wallach
  • Craig Wasson
  • Steven Weber
  • James Woods
My favorites are:
Grover Gardner, Stephen King, and Frank Muller.  I am learning to like George Guidall as I listen to The Dark Tower series.

OMNI Available on Internet Archive

This is by By EDW Lynch at 
The classic science & sci-fi magazine OMNI is now available on the Internet Archive. OMNI was co-founded by Kathy Keeton and Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione in 1978 and was published until 1995. The magazine featured the work of Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, William S. Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, and many others. After going out of print, OMNI lived on as one of the first webzines, from 1996 to 1998.
In 1986 Omni excerpted Firestarter and published the short story "The End Of The Whole Mess."

Books Read By Stephen King

Who is your favorite reader of the Stephen King audio books?  I have two non-King favorites.  First Frank Muller is great.  His pacing is fast, which I like!  Also, I have come to appreciate Mr. Grover Gardner.  At first I really struggled with what some said was a "dry" reading style.  But I came to see that Gardner is precise and clear in his reading, giving power to the words themselves to tell the story.

I also think Craig Wasson is an excellent reader.  He takes almost the opposite approach of Gardner.  If Gardner wants the words to speak for themselves, Wasson wants to bring them to life!  He reads with energy, passion and sometimes his passion becomes distraction.

I really like it when Stephen King reads his own stories.  I'm not sure I would want to listen to him read Ken Follett novels!  But he's a great Stephen King narrator.

1. The Gunslinger.  I recently bought the audio tape of Stephen King reading The Gunslinger.  I love it!  King is awkward at first, but gains confidence as he goes.  He starts with a short introduction, pointing out that he is not a professional reader, but he thinks there is value for a writer to read his own work.  I generally agree -- if the writer is a good reader!  Some writers should stick to writing.  Frank Peretti comes to mind!  The author of the Christian classic, "This Present Darkness" has the frustrating habit of breaking into falsetto.
By the way, the photo of a young Stephen King with a mustache is great.
2. The Drawing Of The Three.  I like the cover of this audio book a lot,  by the way.  I can't find the artwork  anywhere else, but it is great.
3. The Wastelands.  I've never seen this, but according to King's site (Ms. Mod), he read the first three books of the Dark Tower series.
4. Bag of Bones
5. On Writing (nonfiction)
6. Building Bridges.  (Speech)
7. Blood and Smoke (Lunch at the Gotham Cafe, 1408, In The Deathroom)
8. It Grows on You (story)
9. Needful Things.  This is my favorite Stephen King reading.
10. Harvey’s Dream (story)
11. Hearts in Atlantis (w/ William Hurt)
12.  LT’s Theory of Pets (live reading)
13. Head Down (essay)
14. The Wavedancer Benefit
15. Rose Madder (the part of Norman Daniels)  (?)
16. The Wind Through The Keyhole
17. Home Delivery (story)

Is Cujo A Metaphor?

Check out James Smythe's most recent update to his rereading Stephen King adventure.  Week 11, Smythe takes us back to the world of Cujo at

I love Smythe's note that Cujo doesn't pause to bother with chapters and things like that.  It's "a constant rush of words, darting between characters and with reminiscing periods of backstory, but always pushing forward."

Smythe notes King's increased abuse of addictive substances is reflected in his books, and ultmatly Cujo is a metaphor for addiction.  Though King admits that he was in the throws of serious drug abuse when he wrote Cujo -- so serious he does not remember writing it!  -- I have trouble with the rabid dog being a symbol of drug use or addiction.  He further sees Tad's death as a metaphor for  drug addiction.

Smythe writes, "As I say, it's all one giant metaphor for King's addiction. Metaphor is there in all fiction if you look for it, of course, but this book aches with symbolism."

So how is Cujo a metaphor for drug addiction?  Because he is a great pet -- until bitten.  Once he is rabid, the dog ravages terror on innocent people.  Smythe offers,
He – Cujo, King – is trapped inside whatever's driving his body for him. He hurts those he loves. He is brutal and remorseless, because he is not himself. Those who would stop him are cut down or trapped. They can only look at him through windows and pray he leaves them alone, or that they get a chance to stop him.
And how is Tad a symbol of addiction?
"Even when the demon is dead, it still kills them. Well, no. Actually, what kills Tad is his desperate need for a drink."
Even the structure of the book  is a symbol to Smythe of King's addiction.  The book is a rush toward the end because King is "unrelenting" in his addiction.

Smythe likes the book a lot, and says it is even more "tremendous" when you know the back story.

Now, here's what I find myself  wondering: Do we really think Stephen King meant for the dog to be a symbol of drug addiction?  Or the boy a symbol of alcoholism?  Symbolism and metaphor don't work unless there is intent on the authors part.  Did King mean to show a boy trapped in a car as a symbol of his own entrapment?  I'm not sure at all King intended that.  I think King meant to write a novel about a dog.  That seems shallow after  all the work Smythe did to get us to see the book at a deeper level -- but I just can't help the surface reading here!

Look, I'm glad to go deep and see metaphors.  I'm a preacher!  The Bible is full of symbolism, metaphor and typology.  Even with Scripture (especially with Scripture) you have to have some sense that there was either intent on the authors part to make the metaphor or on God's part to include it in the text.  Reading metaphor back into a text long after its composition is simply spinning your own  application.  Or, more bluntly:  It's making stuff up to portray yourself as deep.

This stuff about metaphor presses me a little because I see it abused so often.  It leads to bad exegesis and blurs the authors real intents.  Ever been in a Bible study where every word symbolized something else ?  "So when Jesus is born -- what does the manger represent?"  A MANGER!  If  you make the manger something other  than a feeding trough a baby was laid in, you lose focus on what the account is really about.  Same for novels!  To get too focused on your own interpretation of a metaphor the author never intended will cause you to miss the authors true intent.

So what is Cujo?  As far as writing goes, it is King working to limit himself.  He restricts the story to a woman and a boy trapped by a dog.  He would press his skills further with Gerald's Game, binding a woman to the bed.  How do I know this?  Because King said so!  He did tell us that The Shining is a picture of addiction.

Often you wouldn't get a writers symbolism unless he told you.  Needful Things, which I loved, is a satire of the greed of the 1980's.  How do I know that?  King said so!  (source: Time) Having the authors interpretation helps, right?  Otherwise you can read anything into anything!

Is Huck Finn about slavery?  You bet!  The message isn't even hidden.  But what if I said Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a commentary on the dangers of space exploration.  Is there a problem with that?  Yes!   Bradbury never said that was the message of the book.  It seems much more that the Martian Chronicles is about stewardship and kindness.  We are to stewards of whatever we are given (Earth or Mars) and resist the need to fight and beat down everything we encounter.  The book can serve as a warning against atomic warfare, because Bradbury was actually concerned about those things.  But you can't make it about anything, or in the end the book itself loses meaning in the commentary.  The same is true of Cujo.

Symbolism has no weight without authors intent.

Authors Who Hated The Movie Versions Of Their Book

Stacy Conradt has a really cool article titled, "11 Authors Who Hated  The Movie Versions Of Their Book."  (

Did you know there is a reason Catcher in the Rye is not a movie?  Actually -- I hadn't noticed until Conradt mentioned it!  But, sure enough, it's not on screen!  Turns out J.D. Salinger was big time ticked at the way his short story Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut was translated to film, and never again allowed his books to go to Hollywood!  The same is true of the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  (Kind of like Stephen King refusing to allow his stories to be recorded as abridgments after Thinner.)

I love this line Conradt quotes from Gump and Co, "“Don’t never let nobody make a movie of your life’s story,” and “Whether they get it right or wrong, it don’t matter.” Turns out Groom had  reason to resent Hollywood. . . they cheated him out of his royalties!

Of course, we all know Stephen King was not overly fond of The Shining -- and that puts him at #2 on Conradt's list. . . right after Mary Poppins.  What could be wrong with Mary Poppins?  That's like someone asking a King fan, "what's wrong with The Shining?"  (Nothing, if you ask most of us!)  But for King, the movie failed to tell his story.

About Mary Poppins, Conradt writes, "Despite having script approval, Travers’ edits were largely disregarded. Travers loathed the movie’s animated sequences and was perturbed that Mary Poppins’ strict side was downplayed. After some heated meetings, Travers reluctantly approved. She would have been shunned from the star-studded premiere had she not shamed a Disney exec into an invite. The 65-year-old Travers spent most of the movie crying and ultimately refused to let Disney touch the rest of the series."

And then about The Shining, Condrat says,
Stephen King probably made movie buffs cringe when he said he hated what Stanley Kubrick did to The Shining.“I’d admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. … Kubrick just couldn’t grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn’t believe, he couldn’t make the film believable to others.” He was also unhappy with Jack Nicholson’s performance – King wanted it to be clear that Jack Torrance wasn’t crazy until he got to the hotel and felt that Nicholson made the character crazy from the start. With director Mick Garris, King ended up working on another version of The Shining that aired on ABC in 1997.
Here's the raw list, but check out the article:

1. Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers.
2. The Shining, Stephen King.
3. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
4. Forrest Gump, Winston Groom
5. Sahara, Clive Cussler
6.Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut, J.D. Salinger
7. A Clockword Orange, Anthony Burgess
8. American Psycho, Bred Easton Ellis
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Facotry, Roald Dahl
10. One Flew Over  The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey.
11. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson

The full article is delightful.  Check it out here:

Disney Should Have Bought The Tower

Mrs. Dean should be a Disney Princess
Disney bought Star Wars for 4.5 billion.  I believe that is: 4,500,000,000.  Does it occur to anyone that they could have bought up the Dark Tower property for a lot less money, and actually had a massive budget to make the thing awesome?  Besides, Susannah Dean would make an awesome Disney Princess.

Doesn't the Tower series fall more in line with with Disney does?

Wish list for the new Star Wars movie:
1. Luke Skywalker turn evil.  That would be cool.
2. That Gunkans be wiped out by whoever the next bad guy is.
3. That characters age  better than Obiwan did between 3 and 4.
4. Stephen King writes the script for the 7th movie.  The mid movies are supposed to be dark -- I think King would be awesome.

Why this deal is scary. . . 3 words: The Black Hole.
Why this deal is cool. . . more Star Wars Movies.

Cusack to star in CELL

Jeremy Kay at Screen Daily reports that John Causack will star in Stephen King's CELL.  Causack aslo starred in the King film, 1408.  The film is being produced by Richard Saperstein, Brian Witten and Shara Kay.

The Screen play is co-written by Stephen King, "with The Last House On The Left screenwriter Adam Alleca. The producers are currently out to directors."  Kay quotes Saperstein as saying, “Cell is an intelligent psychological thriller that delivers on both a visceral and emotional level.”

The Screen Daily article is HERE.